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Foxface and Rabbitfish Care Sheet

Developed with and approved by a qualified veterinarian.

Foxface/Rabbitfish caresheet

Includes foxface/rabbitfish species such as:

  • Foxface
  • One-spot foxface
  • Bicolor foxface
  • Magnificent foxface
  • Yellow blotch rabbitfish
  • Two-barred rabbitfish
  • Decorated rabbitfish
  • Golden-lined rabbitfish

 

Overview

Scientific names: Siganus vulpinus, Siganus unimaculatus, Siganus uspi, Siganus magnificus, Siganus gutatus, Siganus virgatus, Siganus puellus, Siganus lineatus

Foxface and rabbitfish are members of the family Siganidae. These compressed, oval-shaped species are peaceful, boldly colored fish who have a voracious appetite for algae and are known to control nuisance bubble algae. Their dorsal, pelvic and anal spines are equipped with venom glands, whichh can deliver a painful sting; care must be taken when handling these fish or maintaining an aquarium containing them. 

 

Typical appearance and behavior

  • Foxface and rabbitfish are peaceful, but may be aggressive with another of their own species
  • They are considered reef safe with caution when fed regularly; they may nip at large polyp stony corals or soft corals
  • They will consume both nuisance algae and desirable algae
  • Rabbitfish are known to control valonia algae
  • They can be kept with larger and more aggressive fish due to their ability to defend themselves with their venomous spines

Foxfaces can camouflage themselves when they feel threatened, becoming deep brown

 

Characteristics

Care Difficulty Beginner to intermediate, depending on species
Average Life Span Up to 12 years with proper care, depending on species
Average Adult Size 8–21 inches long, depending on species
Diet Herbivorous
Minimum Habitat Size 75+ gallons, depending on species
Water temperature 74–80°F
Specific gravity 1.020-1.025

 

Habitat

Habitat size

Keep foxface and rabbitfish in an appropriately sized aquarium; a minimum of 75 gallons, depending on the adult size of the species, is recommended

 

Building your habitat

Water health:

  • Provide proper filtration to ensure optimal water quality to help maintain health; moderate to strong water circulation will mimic water currents found in the foxface or rabbitfish’s natural habitat, depending on the species
  • Stable water quality (pH, ammonia, nitrate, nitrite) and water temperature are critical to the health of aquatic life; if you are unsure of your water quality, bring a sample to Petco for free testing
  • A protein skimmer can aid with maintaining great water quality and high dissolved oxygen levels
  • Use an aquatic heater to stabilize water temperature, ensuring it does not fluctuate more than +/-2 degrees in a 24-hour period
  • The specific gravity should remain stable; do not allow specific gravity to fluctuate more than +/-0.001 in a 24-hour period

Décor: Provide rocks and décor for hiding places and grazing as well as plenty of room for movement

 

Feeding

What to feed your foxface or rabbitfish
A well-balanced foxface or rabbitfish diet consists of:

  • Commercial algae or algae sheets
  • Marine flakes or pelleted herbivore foods
  • Blanched lettuce or spinach
  • Mysis shrimp and brine shrimp (frozen or freeze-dried)

Things to remember when feeding your foxface or rabbitfish:

  • Algae or algae sheets should always be present in the aquarium (attach to the side of the aquarium with an algae clip)
  • Feed other foods 2–3 times daily, no more than fish will eat in 1–2 minutes
  • Thaw frozen food before feeding

 

Foxface and rabbitfish care

Water care: Maintaining great water quality with regular water changes and adequate filtration is important to help keep your foxface or rabbitfish healthy

  • Daily: Check filter, water temperature and other equipment
  • Weekly: Test water quality at least once a week
  • Weekly to monthly: Change 10–25% of the total volume of water every two to four weeks or as needed; change filter media monthly

Avoid overcrowded conditions, which are a major cause of stress and disease

Maintain good water quality with regular water changes and adequate filtration

 

Where to buy

 In store and online [ANIMAL] Various foxface and rabbitfish are available for purchase at Petco online and in store; availability varies by location. If visiting your local location, please call ahead to check availability.

 

Supplies

 

Habitat mates

Compatible with:

  • Dwarf and large angelfish
  • Blennies
  • Clownfish
  • Damselfish
  • Eels
  • Gobies
  • Groupers
  • Hawkfish
  • Lionfish
  • Pseudochromis
  • Puffers
  • Tangs
  • Wrasses

Only keep one foxface or rabbitfish per aquarium unless a mated pair

 

Health

Signs of a healthy fish

  • Clear eyes
  • Eats vigorously
  • Bright, even coloring
  • Fins completely intact and undamaged
  • Active swimming
  • Regular breathing
  • Bright, even coloring
  • Free of parasites or disease

 

Red flags (if you notice any of these signs, contact your local aquatic specialist or veterinarian)

  • Loss of color or appetite
  • Spots or fungus on body or mouth
  • Erratic swimming
  • Labored breathing
  • Cloudy eyes
  • Weight loss
  • Frayed fins

 

Common health issues

Health Issue Symptoms or Causes Suggested Action
Health IssueFin rot Symptoms or CausesFrayed or disintegrating fins; the base of the fins usually reddens Suggested ActionImprove water quality; consult your local aquatic specialist or aquatic veterinarian for treatment.
Health IssueMarine ich Symptoms or CausesCysts on fins, gills, and skin; labored breathing, excess skin mucus or pale skin Suggested ActionQuarantine fish immediately and use a commercial parasite remedy (freshwater dips can help dislodge the parasites); consult your local aquatic specialist or aquatic veterinarian for treatment
Health IssueBacterial infection Symptoms or CausesCloudy eyes, open sores and/or reddening of the skin Suggested ActionImprove water quality; use a commercial antibacterial remedy as directed; consult your local aquatic specialist or aquatic veterinarian for treatment
Health IssueViral infection (lymphocystis) Symptoms or CausesWhite nodule growths on fins or body Suggested ActionImprove water quality; consult your local aquatic specialist or aquatic veterinarian for treatment

 

FAQs

How hardy are foxface fish? Foxface fish are very hardy fish when properly cared for within an established aquarium.

How long do foxface fish live? Foxface can live up to 12 years when properly cared for.

What should I feed foxface or rabbitfish? Foxface or rabbitfish should be offered sufficient amounts of algae from natural algae, algae sheets and flake and pellet diets for herbivores. They may also accept brine and mysis shrimp.

What is a rabbitfish? Part of the Siganidae family, rabbitfish (aka spinefoots) are a peaceful herbivore capable of controlling nuisance algae like the dreaded valonia. There are around 27 species, such as the foxface.

 

Additional care sheets

 

Notes and resources

Ask a Pet Care Center associate about Petco's selection of products available for the care and happiness of your new pet. All products carry a 100% money-back guarantee.

Because all aquatic life are potential carriers of infectious diseases, such as atypical mycobacteria and salmonella, always wash your hands before and after handling your aquatic life or habitat contents to help prevent the potential spread of disease.

 

Pregnant women, children under the age of 5, senior citizens and people with weakened immune systems should contact their physician before purchasing or caring for aquatic life and should consider not having aquatic life as a pet.

Go to cdc.gov/healthypets and petco.com/caresheet for more information about aquatic life and disease.

The information on this care sheet is not a substitute for veterinary care. If you need additional information, please contact your veterinarian as appropriate.